Home >> News >> Selok Awar Awar Sand Mining

Killing and Brutal Torture of Farmer, Antimining Activist in East Java

The International People’s Conference on Mining 2015 (IPCM) strongly condemns the brutal torture of farmers and anti-mining activists Salim alias Kancil and Tosan, both from the village of Selok Awar-Awar Village in Lumajang, East Java, Indonesia, last September 26, 2015.

Watu Pecak Beach, Lumajang2014 Photo of Watu Pecak Beach (courtesy of almaritua.blogspot.com)

Salim and Tosan were leaders of the Communication Forum of Concerned Citizens of the Selok Awar-Awar Coastal Village, a community group opposed to sand mining in Selok Awar-Awar. On September 23, the group staged a protest action against sand mining in Watu Pecak Beach, which led to the stoppage of quarrying activities.

Three days after, Salim was reported to have been dragged from his house to the village hall of Selok Awar-Awar by a group of more than 30 men. There he was beaten, his head crushed with a big stone, and then mortally struck with a hoe on his head. Tosan, meanwhile, was assaulted in his home, beaten with wood, stones and farm implements, and run over by a motorcycle. He is in critical condition at the Saiful Anwar Hospital.

In many parts of the world, paramilitary thugs have been hired and financed by private interests, especially mining companies, to carry out the criminal task of harassing, assaulting, and silencing community dissent against large-scale mining projects. This has been highlighted in countries such as Colombia where Glencore and Drummond has been linked to the killing spree of the paramilitary group United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia , to Papua New Guinea where Rio Tinto has been implicated in numerous human rights abuses against Bougainville islanders. These paramilitaries, often in collusion with state armed forces and self-serving local and national government officials, work with impunity and sow terror and abuse, especially in locales far from the eye of public and media scrutiny.

While at least 18 suspects have been reported to be arrested by Lumajang police, more remain at large, including the Village Head of Selok Awar-Awar who has been implicated by community members as the mastermind of the brutal beatings.

The brutal beatings of Salim and Tosan are not just violent acts against the people of Selok Awar-Awar and Lumajang  but against peoples all over the world defending their rights, lands, and livelihoods.

We, the participants of IPCM representing 20 countries and 140 organizations from six continents, along with our friends, allies, partners, and colleagues, reiterate the call of IPCM organizer and regional coordinator Jaringan Advokasi Tambang – JATAM Mining Advocacy Network on the Indonesian government and authorities to:

  1. Ask police and other related institutions to investigate the case, including find the intellectual actors behind this incident.
  2. Stop sand mining in Lumajang, East Java and stop land grabbing and conversion into mining.
  3. Protect community's rights to express opinions and to be productive and access productive land from intimidation, torture, murder and land grabbing.

We also encourage individuals and institutions to follow and oversee this case so it does not become a precedent which spread out to other places where farmers and communities resistance exist. Individuals and institutions can contribute by sending the demand through mail, text message, phone or other media to the addresses below.           

1. Kasat Reskrim Lumajang (+62-85232484888)

2. Complaint Center of Ministry of Environment and Forestry

Gedung Manggala Wanabakti Blok I lt. 3

Jln. Gatot Subroto - Senayan Jakarta -Indonesia – 10207

Telepon/Fax: +62-21-5704501-04; +62-21-573019

3. Minister of Environment and Forestry (+62-8121116061)

4. Indonesian National Police

Jl. Trunojoyo No.3, Jakarta Selatan DKI Jakarta 12110

Call Center: +62-21-91261059

Fax: +62-21-7218741

Email: mabes@polri.go.id

5. National Commission of Human Rights (Nurkolish) +62-8127107577

6. Lumajang Regent (Bupati) As'at +62-8113500486

7. Kapolres Lumajang Fadly Munzir  (+62-811751997)